Prior airway exposure to allergen increases virus-induced airway hyperresponsiveness

Mika J. Mäkelä, Ralph Tripp, Azzeddine Dakhama, Jun Won Park, Toshihide Ikemura, Anthony Joetham, Matti Waris, Larry J. Anderson, Erwin W. Gelfand

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

25 Citations (Scopus)


Background: Respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) bronchiolitis in early life can lead to changes in airway function, but there are likely additional predisposing factors, such as prior allergen exposure, determining which children develop wheezing and asthma. Objective: To define the effects of prior airway exposure to sensitizing allergen on the development of airway inflammation and hyperresponsiveness (AHR) to subsequent RSV infection. Methods: BALB/c mice were exposed to ovalbumin or PBS exclusively through the airways and subsequently infected with RSV or sham-inoculated. AHR, lung inflammation, and the frequency of cytokine-producing T lymphocytes in the lung were determined. Results: In PBS-exposed mice, RSV infection induced AHR and an increased proportion of TH1-type (IFN-γ and IL-12) cytokine-producing cells in the lungs. However, in mice previously exposed to ovalbumin through the airways and subsequently infected with RSV, the degree of AHR was significantly increased and was associated with an increased proportion of TH2 (IL-4, IL-5) cytokine-producing T lymphocytes. This response was also associated with an increased accumulation of eosinophils, neutrophils, and CDS+ T cells in the lungs. Conclusions: These data suggest that prior airway exposure to allergen may predispose sensitized hosts to a greater degree of altered airway function upon subsequent respiratory viral infection.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)861-869
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 2003 Nov

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Supported by grants from the National Institutes of Health (HL-61005, HL-36577) and Environmental Protection Agency grant R825702 to E.W.G.

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Immunology


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